“Every once in a while a band comes along that knocks me back on my heels. Well Tellico just did that for me. ”
— -Ronnie Norton, WSM Route 650 (Nashville)
With vivid storytelling, vibrant musicianship and arresting honesty, Asheville NC’s Tellico explores the beauty of songcraft through the lens of the Appalachian stringband tradition. Tellico features the singing and songwriting of Anya Hinkle, originally from the mountains of southwest Virginia, steeped in the tones of bluegrass and folk but seasoned by travels across the world and back.
Anya has toured nationally and internationally for over a decade and has developed as a notable songwriter. Her song “Courage for the Morning” off Tellico’s freshly released album Woven Waters (Organic Records) was #1 on the Folk DJ charts in November 2018, and her song “Ballad of Zona Abston” was the winner of the Merlefest Chris Austin Songwriting Competition and a finalist in the Hazel Dickens Song Contest and in 2019. Her song “Ever What They Say” off of Tellico’s freshman effort Relics and Roses was included in the prestigious Songwriter Showcase at the 2016 conference of the International Bluegrass Music Association.
Tellico’s most recent album, produced by Irish guitar legend John Doyle (frequently with Transatlantic Sessions, Joan Baez, Tim O’Brien and more), was #9 on WNCW’s Top 100 Albums of 2018 and No Depression writes, “Tellico reminds us cannot abandon our own humanity, even when others try to grind it out of us.”
“Tellico puts their ‘Appalachiacana’ sound to work showcasing some of what western North Carolina is known for...”
--The Bluegrass Situation
“Woven Waters is a far-ranging album that intertwines the political and the personal… Tellico reminds us to slow down and truly absorb our experiences. We cannot abandon our own humanity, even when others try to grind it out of us.
--Rachel Cholst, No Depression
“There isn’t a misstep on the Woven Waters.”
--Tony Ives, Americana Music Show
--Jim Hynes, Country Standard Time
Band website: www.tellicoband.com
“West of the Cumberlands”: https://youtu.be/iPXfyc2cmhM;
“Can't go home again”: https://youtu.be/zE9aQ4VBERI;
“Ballad of Zona Abston” https://youtu.be/jkd3cbUS8ew;
“Ever What They Say”: https://youtu.be/i4LMRiid8Y8
“Forsaken Winds”: https://youtu.be/uEldxUue7G8
Asheville, North Carolina (September 21, 2018) – Tellico announces the releaseof a new single, “Courage for the Morning” off their second studio album WovenWaters. The full album is set for release on November 9, 2018 on Organic Records. Legendary Irish musician and Grammy nominee John Doyle joined the band to produce the nine tracks at the studio of Grammy-nominated engineer David Arnold. Tellico will be on tour in 2018-2019 to promote the project, featuring performances at festivals and listening rooms throughout the South East. (See www.tellicoband.com for full calendar).
With honest, heartfelt songwriting and an unmistakable sound, Asheville-based Tellico crafts Woven Waters, an album that blends the group’s bluegrass sensibilities with British Isles influences, creating an eclectic collection of poignant folk songs. It’s traditional roots music that speaks to our modern times.
Along with Tellico’s line-up, Anya Hinkle on vocals, guitar and fiddle; Greg “Stig” Stiglets on vocals, upright bass and harmonica; Aaron Ballance on dobro and lap steel guitar; and Jed Willis on mandolin and telecaster, the album includes producer Doyle on bouzouki, providing his signature rhythmic backbone to a number of the compositions. Woven Waters also includes drummer David Brewer.
The first single “Courage for the Morning” written by Hinkle on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was inspired by current social and political events. “I was thinking about how people’s actions can inspire others, from the great revolutionary leaders to the everyday efforts of ordinary people,” says Hinkle. “This song, for me, has been about looking inward to see how each one of us can be the change that is so desperately needed in this world. So, if you sing along to this song, you will be saying to yourself ‘I will walk, I will sing, I will bring a little courage for the morning.’ That is something each one of us can take to heart and really think about: What is it that I can do to help another person in this world?”
More On Woven Waters
Woven Waters is the follow up to the Tellico’s acclaimed 2015 release Relics and Roses. The title of this most recent effort reflects a new level of awareness to texture and melody built on their distinctive sound.
“With this album we wanted to grow our sound to add more complexity and depth to our arrangements,” says Hinkle. “In many cases, instrumental parts were conceived intentionally and composed separately from the choruses and verses, with the help of producer John Doyle, who also helped us experiment with more alternative chords and voicings than we might naturally have chosen, adding a broader kaleidoscope of feeling to the songs.”
Producer John Doyle, is known for innovative guitar work and arrangements in the Irish-American supergroup Solas and has performed and recorded with the most well-known musicians in Irish, folk and Americana music, including Tim O’Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Joan Baez, and others. John was also a core member of the popular “Transatlantic Sessions” recordings with Jerry Douglas, Sara Watkins, Kathy Mattea, and more.
Working with the mad genius of Doyle was an intense process during a week-long session in the deep mountains of eastern Tennessee. The band was assembled in a single room at the studio of David Arnold, engineer of the Grammy-nominated Memories of John album by the John Hartford String Band. Arrangements and melodies were created and recorded on the spot. The compressed turnaround time for learning and performing compositions brings a fresh openness to the songs, a sense of playing on the edge from a new, uncharted musical landscape.
As the band's principle writers, Hinkle and Stiglets use evocative wordcraft and imagery to tell relatable stories but also craft songs that make a larger statement. Like “Courage For The Morning,” “The Ballad of Zona Abston” is another song with political leanings that tells the true story of a woman who was raised in a former coal mining community in middle Tennessee. “Zona told me her life story over her kitchen table,” says Hinkle. “It illustrates her strong will to survive through decades of crisis, stress and difficulty and reflects the desperation of struggling people, particularly women. When you really listen to what someone’s been through, you naturally develop a lot of compassion for what people have to deal with in this world. It was a story I had to put to song.”
Stiglets offers pastoral themes in his writing. “New Moon” reflects the fantastic and frightening imagery of one’s mind upon hearing mysterious noises in the night woods, while “Salsa” is the story of a dog, spooked by thunder, that ran away but returns to its owner after five years adrift: ‘And as I turned to meet a beast, my eyes did light in wonder.’ “Palisades” and “West of the Cumberlands” explore themes of travel and geography and longing for home when on the road, even when in new and interesting places.
Three of the album’s songs deal with change and loss. “Fill the Air” was co-written by Stiglets and Hinkle, based on a melody by Stiglets. The lyrics became focused on the story of Rory Feek, a country singer and young mother that fought an unsuccessful battle with cervical cancer. “Driving home one afternoon through Southwestern Virginia, I was inspired by proximity to the Stanley Brothers homeplace, and thinking about the Feek story. I imagined lyrics that the Stanleys might sing: ‘What kind of God would take you away from your home?’” says Hinkle. Similarly, “It’s Just Rain” was written about the late James King and inspired by a call in Bluegrass Unlimited to help tell the story of James’ life during his final year. “Some of the story is imagined, some of it I remember from performances I saw of my favorite bluegrass singer of all time, Mr. James King: ‘Singing through the tears is what I always did.’” she adds. Finally, “Like November” is a story of letting go after things become irreconcilable in relationships and they end. "I hear but I’ll never see, how our stories end so differently."